Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Allegedly the Merri Creek Fete

Photos from the Miss Caroline Tap Dance performance at Merri Creek fete this weekend, text from Planet Anxious.
merri ck fete 2010 178
"Come to Miss Caroline's tap school!!"

My headspace, she's a not so good this week. I wish my brain could let things go, but it can't. I now have a plank of wood instead of an upper back and I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on useful stuff like getting organised for Craft Camp at Sewjourn this weekend. But I really hope getting away from it all in good company will sort me out a bit.

merri ck fete 2010 048
"It's really fun there, and she's part of your community, yay!"

I am really grateful to the people that took time to comment on the freak out post. It's good, it's good to feel supported. Even nicer has been the practical help offered by a few lovely people who've said send me your ad, send me your flyers. That kind of help is fantastic. Especially because my brain is currently squealing round in circles wondering what to do about this marketing stuff. I do see that it's a good idea to market my Point of Difference but what with the squealing brain I can't really put my finger on why people should come to my school over hers. Her school will be good, mine is also good. We're both into a fun environment, non-competitive, family friendly etc. Does the whole thing boil down to whether you prefer pink or purple? I don't really know. Also I'm trying to do up flyers but again what with the stress I just can't think straight to do them (what should they say? how should they look? what should I include, what should I leave out?) and that's on top of still feeling my way round the new-to-me software of Illustrator.

merri ck fete 2010 067
"you can step out in style"

So it's not that I think any one is wrong when they tell me to sell myself -actually I think they're quite right- but I'm just finding at the moment that I can't. I'm too anxious about the whole thing. I am latching on to Molly's sage advice because it is the one that I can make sense of at the moment, which is there's probably room for both of you. I think that's right, I think there's a lot of families in this area who want their kids to dance, way more than my tiny school could cater for. Really I've just got to put any old flyer out into the ether so that when the families initially look at a dance class, mine is one of the options.

merri ck fete 2010 097a
"don't pick another tap school!"

However, there is another issue that is fueling the brain-melt, because I feel that actively marketing herself directly in the suburb where she knows I'm based was maybe stepping over a friendship boundary and that side of it is making me feel rotten. Finding her in our schoolyard was really not nice. You know? That's kind of my patch. I assume that she just hadn't thought it through, that she was just in good businesswoman marketing overdrive and was covering every base, and her brain was too full to consider details such as moi. Well I'm trying to tell myself that anyway. Because I absolutely don't want to get into any argy-bargy over this, I would prefer to stay friends; I like her and as far as I know she likes me. We went to each other's 40ths, for heaven's sake. And we go back a long way. She rang me a lot for sympathy and advice when she was having troubles with another tap person. So I don't want to end up in a situation where we could never be in the same room together ever. I'm officially too old to get into bitch-fights with someone anyway, especially as I know that short-term relief in making a fuss will lead to long-term angst and I have quite enough long term angst to be going on with. If there was a way of saying good luck with your school but can you please back off in my suburb I would say it, but so often even simple requests can blow up in your face. And look, I'm not a protected species, it's not really my patch. In business terms. In friendship terms maybe it is, a little.

merri ck fete 2010 148a
"or the Cherub will sneer at you"

Anyway. Sorry. I hope to stop boring on about all this really soon, but as you may have noticed it has a rather large grip on my pathetic psyche at the moment. It is kind of nice that when I've talked about it, people have been really supportive. Like I know I'm not a protected endangered heritage listed business, but actually in a lot of ways I have felt quite protected.

And PS. The Tap Kids were shining superstars at the fete this weekend and local Melbourne identity Catherine Deveny whooped our performance. She did.

PPS. Nobody but Jac made any guesses about the song lyric snippets but in case anyone was interested they are from : Grandma's Feather Bed, Woody's Round-up, Everybody Walk the Dinosaur and Get Up Offa That Thing.


  1. Wow, Tuesday after kinder drop-off (mine) must be your prime posting time!

    Love the pics of the Fete performance.

    Re the other stuff, I'm -sure- everything will be just fine.

    I hope you have booked yourself in for first massage on the weekend.

  2. Great photos - the kids are having a ball! Good luck with it all - you're certainly doing the "marketing" with your feet at these markets - if that doesn't spread the message - nothing will!

  3. Oh my. Just catching up on your life on Planet Anxious!

    I think Molly's advice is right - there will be room for both of you...although I'm thinking really dark thoughts about the idea of a friend and mentor moving into your patch. In my experience families choose dance schools for ALL sorts of reasons which you can't predict - sometimes it's as basic as the time and day the class is on.

    And if it makes you feel better, I would totally choose you over your competitor if you were my side of the city (which, if I'm right about who it is, I think she is). Purple is so much more my colour than pink.

  4. If we lived even remotely near by I'd be sending the lad your way. I didn't do any dancing lessons as a kid because all that was on offer was pinkitty pink princess stuff, and you provide an alternative.

    The Bloke has suggested a new slogan for you: No fucken sequins!

  5. It is so great to see how you encourage males at your classes. They usually don't choose the pink & wings??
    I am sure you have relaxed & comfortable classes. Some I took my dauther to, were not nice at all, & made ugly 'distinctions'.
    You always looks so happy dancing!

  6. oh big hugs - sending good vibes your way xxxx

  7. send me your flyers, Im a good tarter-up-a-rer. And you know where my allegiance lies within the tap world....

    speaking of - every thursday I see that MEAN TAP MAN at Lolas dance school. I make no eye contact and yet still he makes me sweat.

  8. Do keep smiling. But it is horrid when one discovers the limits to friendship, and that the person believed to be a real and true friend is not really quite that at all, and that other values are more important.
    Have you thought about opportunities of giving classes through community colleges, etcetera?
    I wish I were close by and could give you lots of hugs and positive thoughts.

  9. Ooh ooh!! *waving hand*

    Pick me, pick me! Can I do the bitch fight for you, please??!! I so want to have a go at that woman's kneecaps.

    You want my advice? Well, do ya?

    OK. Get someone impartial.

    But someone impartial.

    Get Nell.

    Nell can write you a resume of your tap school. She loves you and knows you but she would be seeing this from a totally different angle to you.

    Tell her why your school is special.

    Actually, why are YOU telling her? Get her to ask your students? Ask the parents! Why are you here? What keeps you coming back?

    Have a flyer that has kid's comments on it

    "Miss Caroline is really cool because she lets me pick my nose and doesn't make me wear fairy wings" Aunty Evil aged 46

    That kind of thing.

    Nell will know what to do, she always does.

  10. I reckon a flyer with "Catherine Deveney liked our performance" would so suck in your target audience.

    Well, it sucks me in. That and the purply no sequin stuff.

  11. Oh yes! What Aunty Evil said! And what innercitygarden said about the sequins. Made me laugh. You do offer something unique. I was also thinking that you should ask the parents why they chose your school and what their kids say about it.

    First and foremost in our choice of things is, do our kids like it? Not the glitzy package, but the substance.

  12. Miss Caroline - you are the point of difference. Don't worry and try to pre-empt what MAY happen. Focus now on what is happening. YOU are making little people very happy with the service you offer right now. Every time one of them says to their friends that they love to go to tap is worth more than 50 flyers. Focus on being the best you at lessons. Put those kids in first place in your mind, not that other person.

    Breathe in, breathe out. Tap one foot in front of the other. It will be OK because you do what you do so well.

  13. Oh, what they all said, especially AE and ICG. Totally true, what a difference that boys and all sorts of kids can come to YOUR school and be comfortable, fit in, and have a blast. It's all about joy. You've got a great thing going. :) I hope you do as suggested and treat yourself to a fantastic massage at the very least. Oh, and another tidbit that I find helpful is to look at a situation that is potentially conflicting and see it as an opportunity -- "Problems give us unimaginable potential for training and growth in life." (I stumbled across this while trying to work through some of my own recent stuff... --and thank YOU for your supportive comments, my dear-- http://briankim.net/blog/2006/12/be-grateful-for-your-problems-be-very-grateful/)

  14. I Like aunty evils idea of a flyer with some kids comments on it...

  15. Hang in there, you're doing great. Just remember its far worse inside your head than out! And you're maybe right not to rush into a flyer now, feeling anxious never helped anyone 'sell' themselves. It will come. (But send me soem anyway ;-))

  16. I'm sure your class is absolutely ace because of what you bring to it, and aceness will win out in the end.

    Looking forward to seeing you at craft camp #2.

  17. OI StomperGirl

    Just followed you here from MsDancingMouse's blogn if'n ya don't mind I'd like to cjhuck in my 2 cents worth, though I think yer friends have most of it covered...

    Firstly.. you are a winner... getting your school up to the stage where it's at is a WIN...

    Thus you n Mr FIXIT may be Battlers.. but you aint losers 'kay?

    Secondly... A brief glance through your blog n the comments of your supporters tells me this...
    You have something unique or at least greatly different from your mentor's school style... that is the lack of frilly bits n the concept of Tap as more 'n just the domain of chorus girls n such.. think tap dogs, n sammy Davis Junior n a various other things out there

    Personally I reckon you should promote the Fcuk out of that concept, and by golly push the stomper girl name and credo as well... there is real presence there tho I know you are dealing with kids so we don't want too mmuch of the ANGER and FIGHT type associations happening, but the fun in, in-yer-face tap is something you have.


    My Dear...

    I know 'tis hard, but get yer head outta yer bum n push for the positive thinking... you've got it there, your photos and love of what you do shines through... and your later posts are erring more to the positive side. PUSH IT and swamp out the thoughts of fear.

    Go Hard You Champion.


  18. I think your class will be 'friendlier' to little boys which a lot of parents will like ... it's not 'pink and purple' ... and all the kids look like they're having a great time.

  19. I read your later post, so am pleased to hear the back plank shall be addressed quicksticks. And I'm good with that Illustrator bizzo. Feel free to yell!


Don't let the cat get your tongue.